In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. When sixteen-year-old Bruno accidentally kills a royal soldier, he goes from favored to fugitive. Now Bruno’s only chance at survival is to become someone else. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue. Now he’s visiting parts of town he never knew existed, and making friends with people he would’ve crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago. At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get his life back. All Bruno has to do is abandon those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader and let an innocent Green boy die in his place.
I was given a copy of “Uncommon Blue” by the author, R.C.Hancock in exchange for an honest review. I love dystopian, think Hunger Games, The Giver, and Divergent. This one has a twist and I enjoyed the read. Great storyline of sacrifice and friendship. Good characters, geared for YA. I can recommend for Jr. High and up. I am 50 and I really liked it. There is a clear finish to the story but it is definitely open for more, and I hope that is the author’s plan. I give it 4+ stars. I really liked it!
My Christmas tree has been up for about a week. I was pretty proud of myself, I did all homemade decorations this year, brown paper bag, and felt hearts, applesauce and cinnamon ornaments, newspaper paper chain, and some green and red handprints of my grandchildren. Something happened between the day I finished and now, a strand of lights has a short so sometimes they are on, and sometimes they are off (no, those were not homemade). My husband mentioned that I had a bald spot from the front window, and it is very noticeable from the living room as well. I was pretty bummed, but not enough to take everything off and start over with a new strand.
I got to thinking how we are like those lights. It takes everyone in the strand to light up to make the tree beautiful. With modern technology, the days are over that when one light burnt out the whole strand, but you can still notice that one dark spot on the tree. With a whole strand shorting out, there are huge dark spots. You can’t notice as much with the lights on, but when I shut off the lights and it is dark outside, my favorite time to look at the tree, there they are…
One light not shining is sad, many lights not shining is darkness.
Matthew 5:16 (NIV), “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), “You are the light of the world. You cannot hide a city that has been built upon a mountain.”
Just like each one of those little white sparkling lights on my tree, each one of us is important.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know” so over the years I have pondered that very question and thought about what it must have been like to be the mother of “Immanuel,” God with us.
In the book of Luke we are introduced to this young woman named Mary. She is engaged to Joseph. Gabriel, an angel of the Lord visits her and shares these words, “Greetings to you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, His kingdom will never end. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you so the Holy One born to you will be called the Son of God.”
In the book of Matthew, her fiancé, Joseph, also gets a visit from Gabriel. He had been trying to figure out a way to call off the engagement without bringing shame to Mary. The angel¬ tells Joseph, “Don’t put Mary away. What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
The name Jesus in Hebrew means “Savior.”
The night Jesus was born in that animal shelter a great multitude of angels appear to the humble shepherds and tell them, “Unto you is born this day a Savior.” When they go to see the child, they share all that the angels told them with Mary and Joseph.
At the temple for Jesus’ dedication, two witnesses speak of who He was. Simeon had been promised by the Lord that he wouldn’t die before seeing the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph bring their little one into the temple, he gathers the baby into his arms and says, “Now Lord, you can let Your bond servant depart in peace according to Your word. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the Glory of Your people.”
He goes on to share with Mary, “Behold this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed- and a sword will pierce even your own soul.”
The other witness at the temple is the prophetess Anna, who lives at the temple, worshipping, fasting and praying continually. She speaks to the parents of redemption in Jerusalem.
Mary at all of these things spoken to her by Gabriel, her cousin Elizabeth, the Shepherds, the Wiremen, Simeon, and Anna, treasures them and ponders them in her heart.
So, back to our question: Mary (and Joseph) did you know? I would have to say, “yes” they did. Maybe not everything, God doesn’t work that way. He expects us to live by faith after all. But those two knew who Jesus was, knew He was Holy, knew He was “God with Us.” What an awesome and awful responsibility! Yes, an honor, and yes, Mary is blessed, but think about it. We are so paranoid, partially thanks to people like Sigmund Freud, that we are going to mess up our kids. That somehow we are going to not be strong enough, soft enough, give the right advice, give the right gifts, spend enough time, the list is long, and that they won’t be who they are supposed to be. What if you had been in Mary’s shoes?
Clearly, scripture tells us that she pondered these things in her heart. It doesn’t tell us that she worried, or fretted, or ended up being some psychotic overprotective parent. The only time we read about her experiencing any anxiety is when they left Jerusalem without Him and didn’t find Him for three days. Even Jesus at that time, age twelve, expected His parents to understand that He had work to do.
Why is important to know that Mary and Joseph had an understanding of who their little one was? Because we have all been given the same task, as parents, we have been given a child to raise. Granted they aren’t deity, though we sometimes think that way in our own hearts, but they each have a purpose and God has destined them for great things. Should that stress us out? No. We should “treasure it up and ponder it in our hearts” as Mary did. Why did God choose her? The only answer I have for that is that He knew she was the best person for that job.
Isn’t that why he chose you?
It isn’t a mistake that you have the children that you do. He chose you. You are the best person for the job.
Walk in faith. Trust God and be led by His Spirit.
Your children, just like Jesus, are destined for greatness!
Father, I pray that You help me to walk as You want me to, live the way You intended, and to build Your Kingdom with all boldness and zeal. That I not waste one minute, one penny, or one opportunity to serve You and others in love and gratitude.
I Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV), “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV), “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Romans 14:11 (International Standard Version), “For it is written, “As certainly as I live, declares the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will praise God.””
Isaiah 45:23 (NIV), “By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.”
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, God will be praised, by every tongue, saved or unsaved, angels and demons, humans and animals, all will praise Him.
Jesus is King of Kings. Nothing we can do or think, say or do can change that. However just like everything else in our lives we have a choice, not if we will name Him as Lord and King, but when. We can submit to Him as King now, or we can be forced to bend the knee later. It’s totally up to us.
I love reading books on Arthurian legend. One of the reasons is because of the depiction of Arthur as “High King”. I am in fact reading the best version yet, by Stephen R. Lawhead. This one is my favorite due to the fact that Arthur and even Merlin are portrayed as followers of Jehu (Jesus). The story still has battles and those evil characters that try to manipulate, or strike terror in the people. Each of those wicked Lords or lesser kings all faced a choice, to submit to Arthur as High King and support the defense of their land, or be conquered in battle and be forced, literally to bow the knee and swear fealty to their king.
Such a good lesson for us, Jesus will be our King, by choice or by force.
The good part is that Jesus is not a man like Arthur (if he was even real), with flaws and faults. Jesus is deity. He is God and He is good. You could never submit to anyone who would care for and love you more, or better. He always has your best interest at heart. Just like the kings of old, He went first into battle. He not only goes before you, He encompasses you.
Here is a passage taken from Lawhead’s “Arthur” spoken over Arthur at his crowning: “Jesu with him, before him, behind him;
Jesu in him, beneath him, above him;
Jesu on his right, Jesu on his left’
Jesu when he sleeps, Jesu when he wakes;
Jesu in the heart of everyone who thinks of him;
Jesu in the mouth of everyone who speak of him;
Jesu in the eye of everyone who sees him.”
Let’s truly make Him our King. Not just in word, but in deed, so that all who see us, think of us, or speaks of us will be glorifying God.
If you have confessed Him as Lord, let this be a reminder of what that really means. If you haven’t think about what it would be like to have a loving King to go out for you in battle. One who has already won the victory and has all the spoils of war to give into your hands.
JESUS IS KING.
Revelation 5:13 (Douay-Rheims Bible), “And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honour, and glory, and power, for ever and ever.”